(photo from Yahoo! Sports)
“There was one point where there was a pile, and I was on the bottom of the pile and I thought, ‘My wife’s watching. Get up quick.’ Normally I’m slow to get up, taking inventory and stuff but I thought I’d better get up quick because she was watching.”
-Tedy Bruschi on last night’s game.
I’d venture a guess that his wife wasn’t the only person holding their breath the first time Tedy went down. But he popped right back up. Because he’s Tedy Bruschi and it’s gonna take a lot more than that to keep him down.
As fans, we didn’t know if this day was going to come. We weren’t sure if Tedy would ever walk or see properly again, let alone take the field. But perhaps that’s what explains the difference between us as fans and the players. We miss a week or two of watching football and we may get irritated and be dying to know what happened, but they miss a snap, and it starts killing them. Tedy Bruschi is a husband and a father first and foremost – and he’ll be the first to admit that – but he is a football player. And football players do not stalk the sidelines in headsets, calling out plays. Football players do not shuffle through papers on a clipboard and coach rookies. Football players do not mug for the camera and choreograph elaborate touchdown dances. Football players play football. All Tedy Bruschi wanted to do was play football.
I’ll admit, ESPN’s constant harping on Bruschi’s recovery and return was a little over the top. And the playing of “Hero” during every commercial break may have been just a teensy bit much. But I’m not gonna pretend like I didn’t tear up during pre-game when Richard Seymour, Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel were interviewed and they kept talking about how much Bruschi means to the team and how excited they were to have him back. I know, it’s manipulative, but it’s also true. And if you weren’t at least a little moved by it, you clearly are not in possession of a soul.
And look, clearly the team DID need him. Last night was the first time all season that the Pats’ defense (long their strong suit) had held the opponent to fewer than 20 points. I’m willing to bet that Bruschi’s presence had a little something to do with that.
That said, it was not a spectacular game. The first half was downright painful. Penalties and fumbles and sacks and WHO THE HELL IS THIS TEAM?!? Patrick Pass, who’d been having a nice game for himself, suddenly went down like he’d been shot by a sniper, dropping the ball in the process. And lemme tell you, the sight of a Patriots player clutching any part of his body in obvious pain is an all too familiar and unwelcome sight to any Pats fan this year. Which, naturally, the idiot announcing team could not help but harp on. “This team is decimated by injuries,” they said approximately 587 times. “No, really?” I said sarcastically to no one in particular. “You’d think we would have heard about that.”
This, of course, did not stop them from claiming that the Patriots were “undisciplined,” “unprofessional,” and “100% likely to be overturned” on the catch by Deion Branch. Which they WERE NOT, Joe Theisman so nyuh!
*sticks tongue out in general direction of ESPN broadcast booth*
And the inevitable Peyton Manning praising was apparent as well as, for no reason whatsoever, one of the announcers said, “It’s like when Peyton Manning needs to make the throws…” To which I yelled, “Is Peyton Manning anywhere near this game? Did Peyton Manning even play today? There is NO REASON for you to be talking about Peyton Manning right now. None, whatsoever.”
And you wonder why Pats fans claim the team gets no respect. I mean, yes, it’s a ridiculous claim and perhaps we’ve all been listening to Rodney Harrison for too long but when the announcers are openly rooting for the other team (and yes, yes they were), we tend to get a bit annoyed. When they claim the team is “decimated” by injuries and then turn around and say the Patriots can’t use that as an excuse (which, I’m pretty sure the Pats never did), they imply that the fact that the Pro Bowl secondary and half the defense is injured is what? Negligible? I don’t think so.
At least John Madden’s nonsensical rambling is humorous.
Anyway, a win is a win is a win and best of all, Tedy’s back! Let’s hope he has Peyton Manning quaking in his cleats.